21 years after Dolly the sheep made news, the Chinese Academy of Sciences has used the same technique to clone a pair of healthy Macaque monkeys, bringing us much closer to human cloning.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The cloning process involved starting off with a fetus. Cloning from an adult monkey is still in the works after several failures.
  • The clones,┬áZhong Zhong and Hua Hua, are now 7 and 8 weeks old.
  • The same technique was used to create Dolly the sheep in 1996.

  • After Dolly, several animals were cloned, including dogs, cats, cows and even polo ponies. This is the first successful creation of monkey clones.
  • This is very significant because what works for monkeys generally works for humans as well.
  • Of course, the team has decided against human cloning as a next step, as most mainstream scientists believe that it is unethical to do so. It is also deemed illegal in the U.S. and faces strong opposition from international scientific groups.
  • The current goal is to create more monkey clones to be used in labs. Still unethical, many might say, and PETA has already condemned the act.
  • The process involved putting the fetal DNA into the eggs, which formed embryos that were then placed into two female monkeys for the remainder of the gestation period.
  • Of 127 eggs used in the experiment, only 79 embryos were formed, and only two babies came of the exercise.
  • The successful experiment now poses an ethical dilemma for the human civilization because there is still no concrete evidence of human cloning being useful in any positive way.
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